Ah, January. A fresh start, yet so chilly and grey. What’s the best use of these dark days of winter? How about…redesign your website! I get many requests for web redesign at the beginning of the year, so I’m devoting Mondays in January to follow the process we use to get ‘er done. Last Monday, I posted an investigation into whether it might be time to redesign your site, but you probably know that it’s time to move forward. So how do you begin? First, you do your homework.

Put Your Thoughts Down on Paper

You probably have a checklist in your head of all the problems that have surfaced since your site launched x years ago, and you know exactly why it needs a redesign. But let’s put a little more thought to it and get that info down on paper. You should share it with your design and development team through the process anyway. Organize your thoughts with these five questions:

1. What are the main issues with the current site? Describe specifically the issues you’ve seen or received feedback from others as it pertains to your website’s…

  • Visual design
  • Functionality
  • Usability
  • Information Architecture
  • Content/Storytelling
  • Brand Integration
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

2. What are the main business problems you hope to solve with the new site? How will you measure the success of the solution? Put your thinking cap on and list any business problems that could be tackled with a new site. Fewer customer service calls? Automated ticket sales and registration to your fundraising events? Maybe brainstorm a little bit around the possibilities.

3. How should the new site dovetail with your branding and your other online and offline marketing / promotion / business initiatives? This will guide the creative development and the design of the site, as well as the site information architecture.

4. Who are your primary, secondary and tertiary target audiences for the new site? Describe their specific demographics. What do you want them to do there? Why would they visit your website? Knowing who your audience is, what you want from them, what they want from you is key to developing well-functioning information architecture and determining what features should be prioritized. Looking back on the analytics for your current site over the last x years can help you determine what they were most looking for on your site,

5. What are the main objectives of the site re-do? Take a sec to prioritize three to five primary objectives that may have come out of the previous questions. This will keep your whole web team focused on what’s most important, and will help you make decisions along the way. You can list some secondary objectives too, so they are documented, but keep your eye on the ball. The big stuff will be accomplishment enough. Maybe save the nice-to-haves for v2.0. (Tip: Skip things like “looks great” and “is easier to use,” we’re assuming you’ll hire a kick-ass web design and development team that makes this their priority with every project.)

Now that you’re ready to tackle your web kingdom, here’s the template that we hand to a client when they are ready to face these questions, it will help you along your journey: Melissa Tatge Creative Web Redesign Client Survey »

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Next up: Website Redesign III: The Workshop
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